The most comprehensive statement of faith around which most SMBC members would find agreement is the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message.
While St. Matthews is part of the worldwide Body of Christ, we find it important to identify with the principles, traditions, and freedoms of the Baptist tradition. Among these are:
Soul Freedom: Each person, having been created in the image of God, is able and responsible to make moral, spiritual, and religious decisions. Our belief that every person stands as a competent individual before God and is responsible to determine what his or her soul dictates is referred to as “soul competency.” We believe each person has the capacity to enter into a relationship with the Creator by his or her own free will.
Bible Freedom: Bible freedom is based on the belief that the scriptures as contained in the Old and New Testaments are the inspired word of God, and that they reveal Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Therefore, each believer has the freedom and responsibility to study and interpret the Bible through the life, teachings, and Lordship of Jesus. This freedom defines our purpose of continuing in obedience to God’s word in faith and in practice. Because of the power of the Bible to make God’s will known to us, the Bible can transform lives when it is interpreted and applied under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Church Freedom: Church freedom is the belief that each local church has the freedom and responsibility to interpret scripture, select its own leaders, and make its own decisions in matters related to church governance. No state, regional, or national group has authority over a local Baptist church.
Religious Freedom: Religious freedom is the belief that every person has the right to freedom of religion, freedom for religion, and even freedom from religion.
Baptists have historically believed religious liberty is best protected when the church and state are institutionally separated and neither tries to interfere with the essential mission and work of the other. As our nation was being formed, Baptists were influential in the inclusion of religious liberty in our foundational documents. This is a distinctive Baptist contribution to religion in this country.